Fawlty's hotel saved

Council rejects plans to demolish Torquay landmark

Plans to demolish the hotel that inspired Fawlty Towers have been thrown out.

Councillors in Torquay, Devon, have rejected developers' proposals to demolish the Gleneagles Hotel and replace it with 25 flats.

Torbay council's Mike Higgins said: "A lot of people know of it and know about its connection to Fawlty Towers. There is a need to retain it as a hotel."

John Cleese is said to have been inspired to write the sitcom after staying in the Gleneagles while filming Monty Python in 1971.

He once described its then owner, Donald Sinclair as "the most wonderfully rude man I have ever met", and comedy folklore has it that he threw Eric Idle's briefcase out of a window, thinking it was a bomb.

He died in 1981, and his wife later suggested the anecdotes were exaggerated.

Developers Midas Homes said neighbours wanted the "unsightly" building pulled down - and had commissioned market research that proved it.

But councillors ruled that the plan was not in keeping with their tourism policy.

It's not the first time the future of the site has been in doubt ­ another application in to change the use of the site was turned down in 1989.

Published: 8 Oct 2003

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